Give your brain a workout
Thursday, 15 December 2016
New Year Resolutions for Senior Citizens!
The New Year is round the corner and it is time for thinking of those resolutions again! Whether you resolve to be fitter and healthier, connect more socially or to tick off some points on your bucket list, this is a time to take stock of the year gone by and to think of the year ahead.
Given below are some thoughts and you could consider adding some or all to your list of New Year resolutions.
Eat better for your Health
Take your health into your hands. Change your eating pattern. Take baby steps toward eating right. After all if you have been careless with your food habits, you cannot change these overnight.
Less fats, more fibre with a healthier mix of fruits, vegetables and nuts is always advisable for most people. As seniors, it becomes even more important and relevant for us to regulate our diet. Eat smaller meals more often. Most experts recommend eating 5 times a day but with reduced quantities. As some wise people say “stop eating just before you are full!” Others say that at least half of your plate should be fruits and vegetable.
Add a mix of vitamins and supplements to your diet to balance what you are not receiving through your normal diet.
Remember that eating better is the only answer to reducing your weight.
Find a New, Healthy Activity
As we get older, whether or not we have been active earlier, now it is much more important to be active. Build exercise or yoga into your daily routine. A round of tennis or golf, a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day (150 minutes per week of walking is the minimum recommended), yogic breathing exercises, swimming or cycling would be great to get into your daily schedule.
I have met several seniors who have started running and competing with people of their own age. In the process of staying fit, they have also found a whole new community of like-minded and passionate friends. It is best to experiment and find the right activity for your personality and activity level.
Complete some points in your Bucket List
Give yourself a break. You have earned this. Over the years, all of us have been adding to our bucket list. This list has kept getting longer since we were not able to find the time during our work life.
Resolve to tick off at least two significant items on your bucket list in the coming year.
Connect More with Friends and Family
Re-establish old connections that you lost while you were busy at work. Don’t wait for someone else to take the first step. Once start to reach out to your family and friends, you will be surprised at how much warmth you will receive.
Weekly lunches or coffee mornings with a group of friends, WhatsApp or Skype calls with your family members spread across the World are great ways of re-connecting. Time spent talking and laughing with those that mean the most is time well spent.
Reduce your belongings
Resolve to clean out your closets and your home. Think of the difference between “want” and “need” before you start this exercise. Keep things you need and give away those you want. This may sound philosophical but try and give away whatever you have not used for the past one year. Your challenge will always be “what if” you suddenly need the item again. If you decide to give it away, keep this as an active resolution till the next year and then assess whether you felt the need for the item(s) you gave away. Chances are that you will never miss these items.
In addition, this will start a process of de-cluttering your belongings and clearing up your home over a period of time.
Brush Up on New Technology
Technology, as you are well aware, is changing our World. If you have not already understood the many forms of communication and connection through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and so many others it is time to do so now. Get familiar with the operating systems of your phones and other devices. Learn and understand these platforms since more and more of our lives will revolve around applications being developed on such platforms and around such communication medium.
To brush-up your own knowledge and skills, there are on-line tutorials for every possible question that you may have. You can also request a younger person at home or in your neighbourhood to tutor you.
Tell Your Story
You have had a wonderful and fulfilling life and now is the time to tell your story. Write your blog and publish it on a daily or weekly basis. Think of all the anecdotes in your life and write about these. Think of the milestones in your career and the time you spent as a child and record these. Think of your parents and your extended family and store these memories carefully in writing.
If you are not comfortable with writing out your blogs, dictate these into your mobile phone. Most phones now have the feature of “voice to text” which should quickly convert your voice recording. If this too does not work, send the recording to anyone who will transcribe it for a very small fees. A dictated blog will also preserve your voice for posterity.
Not only will this record your own memories and thoughts, this could also become a record of your family history for the future generations.
Give your brain a workout
The more you exercise your brain, like your body, the stronger it will be. Remember that diseases of the brain like Dementia and Alzheimer’s are increasing.
Read more and beyond your daily newspaper. Join or start discussion groups on subjects that interest you. Try Sudoko, Chess, QuizUp or Scrabble. All these games are available free on your smart phone. Play online with people you do not know and compete with the best. Nothing prevents you from becoming the best in the region or for that matter in the World, using your brain and not brawn power.
Once you take the lead you will find lots of followers who want to play with you but were hesitant to take the lead.
Remove negativity and anxiety from your life
Life is too short and at our stage in life, we are already on the “back nine” of a round of golf! Now is the time to remove all the negativity we have carried inside us about family, friends and the World in general. All this negativity is only hurting ourselves.
If you are feeling anxious about someone or something, speak about it to your family and friends. Bottling this up inside you will only make it more challenging to deal with.
Resolve to celebrate the little joys that you will have and don’t hold back.
Get enough sleep
Most people seem to believe in a myth that as you get older you need lesser sleep. Nothing is farther away from the truth. If you are sleeping late or getting up very early, stay in bed longer than you normally would have and soon you will be sleeping longer and waking up much more rested. Avoid your daytime nap in the early days till your night time sleeping pattern becomes normal. Then you can easily go back to your power siesta as well!
Get regular medical check-ups
Monitor, manage and record your blood pressure, your blood sugar and your weight in a regular systematic manner. If you don’t have any of these challenges, consider yourself blessed. It is necessary for you to get annual medical check-ups done and if you did not get a checkup this year, resolve to undergo a comprehensive check up in the New Year.
Finally, as you celebrate during this festive season with your loved ones, raise a toast to the coming year, but with a smaller glass!
Wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here - Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.
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